Aren’t we supposed to have our collapse around October or November?
Right now, one can only bastardise Ardley’s comments from the other Great Escape season – this wasn’t in the script.
We’re not supposed to be repeating last season, and in the back end of September either. It’s meant to be different now.
Yet those who went to Barrow, Stockport and now Northampton have that depressing feel of deja vu again.
The game on Tuesday might have seen a few pennies drop, and the mood has definitely turned darker.
When normally placid and patient fans are saying how awful it was, you know we’re in a bad spot.
As was seen during the pre-seasons, and too often in 2021/22, goalscoring remains our biggest problem.
Hudlin came on, but are we expecting too much from him already? We’ve seen what happens when lads have end up doing what the experienced players aren’t achieving.
Mind you, it really doesn’t help things when your goalkeeper gifts the opposition the easiest goal they’ll get all season.
And we need to talk about the Bulgarian Kiwi.
Like Will Nightingale, one suspects he gets more of a free pass because he’s One Of Our Own (TM), rather than justifying his place.
We’ve stayed up in the past when we shouldn’t have, because we’ve had a decent shotstopper at the back.
Can you trust Tzanev right now? Or would you be much happier if the new goalie starts tomorrow?
And the more of you who answer in the affirmative to the latter question, the bigger the problem we have.
It’s not just our butterfingers keeper, the whole thing seems lackluster and already out of ideas.
It’s taken until mid-September, but the knives are out for Johnnie Jackson.
Some of that is a hangover from last season, where Mark Robinson was kept on far too long, with our L1 status gone as a result.
I do think that we need to give him a bit more time than he’s already getting, as we’re still recovering from relegation.
That’s why I think his job is safe – for now, anyway – though he’s going to need to start proving he can turn it around PDQ.
Yet even this club can’t deny that patience is wearing thin in some quarters, and has outright gone in others.
It will no doubt try and pretend otherwise, but the boos at full time on Tuesday told its own story.
Jackson himself is in his first big crisis as AFCW manager, as it’s up to him to start getting the best out of these players.
Currently, he isn’t.
As I went to publish this, there was an OS update from him, which suggests he knows he’s got to get us out of the current rut.
I found his admission he chats with his old man/FiL the most noteworthy comment, as he’s obviously feeling the pressure a bit.
He needs to know though his Ardley-esque stubborness over a style of play that isn’t working only ends in a P45.
And if he is sacked before January – it won’t say much about our managerial recruitment process.
Since Northampton, many have said how rudderless we are as a club, both on the field and off it.
I’m not sure what we do during a game, perhaps we simply need that ability to not fuck up during matches.
The rest of the time, it feels like we’re waiting for something to happen on the Managing Director side of things.
For good or bad, both AFCW and WFC have done better with a strong figurehead making most if not all of the decisions.
Mick Buckley is currently doing a good enough job as interim, but there’s a sense he’s firefighting.
The rest of the club seems like a non-league relic of an organisation, with a mindset that never left Kingsmeadow.
Where is our sense of direction right now? Do we have one? And if we do, why can’t we show it?
Anyway, to tomorrow at Carlisle. I’m not working, but like many regulars I’m sacking the game at Brunton Park off.
I can’t really justify driving 12 hours tomorrow to watch 90 minutes of boring ineffective football where we’ll lose because we’ll make a mistake.
Or paying £300 (no exaggeration) to stay up there either, especially with Bradford away next week.
Kudos to anyone who is going, and with luck they’ll get the reward their dedication deserves.
Carlisle away is always the ultimate test for anyone in t’south, and despite all I’ve said just now I’d like to be there.
And I promise not to kick myself if at 5pm tomorrow we depart with three points…